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December 20, 2023

Most Popular Java IDEs in 2023

Java Tools

Many team leaders struggle to get their Java developers to use the same Java tech stack—or they don’t even try. That’s because many developers are stalwart fans of what they know, despite what their cubemates use.  

Whether you’re a novice Java developer learning an IDE for the first time or a seasoned programmer looking to see if the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, you've come to the right place. We've ranked the three most popular Java IDEs of 2023, and outlined the benefits, drawbacks and use cases for each.  

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What is a Java IDE?

An integrated development environment, or IDE, is a software program that developers use to write and debug code more easily. Java IDEs can increase productivity by combining capabilities such as editing, building and testing within a single application.  

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The 3 Best Java IDEs of 2023

Ranking the best Java IDEs is difficult, especially when it comes to crowning the out and out top choice. The top two choices for Java developers are typically IntelliJ IDEA and Eclipse, with industry usage typically skewing toward IntelliJ IDEA.

According to the 2023 Java Developer Productivity Report, IDE usage is:

  • IntelliJ IDEA: 42%
  • Eclipse: 27%
  • VSCode: 22%
  • NetBeans: 5%
  • Other: 3%
  • Browser-based IDE: 1% 
Top IDEs pie chart


Adoption rate is a good proxy for the quality of an IDE, but with one hitch: increasingly, Java developers are using multiple IDEs to meet the needs of their Java development practices. With that caveat, here’s a look at the most popular Java IDEs of 2023 and the features that contribute to their widespread adoption.  

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IntelliJ IDEA

IntelliJ IDEA is the most popular Java IDE in use today. It’s full-featured, meaning it has a long list of productivity-enhancing features that make it a must-have for many Java developers. Many of those features, like code completion, are highly customizable, and can be tuned to fit the needs of the individual developer. IntelliJ also includes an extensive marketplace for plugins to increase productivity and functionality, including JRebel.   

Key Features and Use Cases

There’s a reason that IntelliJ IDEA is by far the most popular Java IDE. Key features include:

  • Smart code completion
  • Navigate to completion
  • Version control
  • New language feature support

The above-mentioned features are also highly customizable, which makes IntelliJ IDEA a popular choice among beginners and experts alike. While the IDE can be cost prohibitive for teams with small budgets, IntelliJ IDEA with JRebel is a top pick for large Java development teams.  

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Eclipse

Like IntelliJ IDEA, Eclipse is a mature IDE that offers a feature-rich Java development experience. The key differences between the two IDEs are the learning curve and the price.  

Key Features and Use Cases

Java developers choose Eclipse over other Java IDEs for several reasons, including:

  • Highly extensible
  • Code completion
  • Refactoring functionality
  • Error detection

Eclipse has all of the features of enterprise-ready software except for the price tag; it’s free for business use. This makes Eclipse a natural pick for businesses that have more experienced development teams or large scale projects. 

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VSCode

VSCode, or Visual Studio Code, is a newcomer to the podium of the most popular Java IDEs. That said, developers familiar with other languages have likely worked with Microsoft’s IDE.  

Key Features and Use Cases

VSCode offers a number of features that make the IDE attractive to Java developers on its own or in conjunction with other IDEs. These include:

  • Support for multiple languages
  • Code navigation and completion
  • Support for GitHub CoPilot
  • Advanced debugger features with Debugger for Java

What’s more, the JRebel VSCode extension, released earlier this year, creates further efficiencies for Java developers who are looking to use VSCode as their primary IDE, or to supplement IntelliJ IDEA or Eclipse.  

🚀Check out our VSCode Keyboard Shortcut Cheat Sheet

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Honorable Mentions

While the above mentioned IDEs clearly garner the most usage, there were a few other Java IDEs worth mentioning.

NetBeans  

Developers who want to develop natively with Maven will want to strongly consider NetBeans. It’s slightly easier to use than Eclipse, so it’s also a good choice for beginner developers who don’t have the budget for IntelliJ IDEA. One of the advantages of NetBeans is that it’s part of the Apache ecosystem, meaning built in Apache Maven functionality for users.

Oracle JDeveloper

For Java developers working fully within the Oracle ecosystem, JDeveloper is a viable choice. It integrates directly with Oracle Weblogic and Oracle ADF, and can be used throughout the full development lifecycle.

BlueJ

BlueJ, like NetBeans, has a small, dedicated following among Java developers. It’s easy to use, but offers far less functionality and extensibility than NetBeans, Eclipse, or IntelliJ IDEA. 

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Final Thoughts

Choosing the best Java IDE can be a tough decision—and a combination of multiple IDEs might be the best fit for your organization. But as outlined above, IntelliJ IDEA, Eclipse, and NetBeans IDEs each have their own advantages for Java developers. Aligning those benefits with your needs will help make your choice a success. 

Try JRebel on Your Java IDE

Experience the time savings of JRebel on your favorite IDE via our plugins for IntelliJ IDEA, Eclipse, NetBeans, JDeveloper, Eclipse, VSCode, and Rational Application Developer. See for yourself during your 14-day free trial.

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Additional Resources

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